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Distinguished SOTW Columnist/Official SOTW Guru
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Discussion Starter #1
Evening punters,

The tenon re-corking went well. All done. Had no idea that newly installed corks were so thirsty when it comes to lanolin/cork grease. :)

I thoroughly enjoyed the work. Thanks to all who offered advice and encouragement. I had no idea how much I missed working with my hands and would like to do more repairs. Apart from my own learning and enjoyment, the kid's instruments need a lot of TLC that the band budget just can't cover. So, I'm going to persist and see if I can't be part of the solution, rather than whingeing and moaning about the problem. ;)

And so...Most, if not all of the clarinets are Yamaha student models. I have the Eric Brand manual and the Ronald Saska manual. Both are very informative in different ways. I'm waiting on the Reg Thorpe manual, due to pranging the car and being subsequently broke. :( :evil:

Both of the manuals I have provide checklists for overhauls, but I can't seem to find anything on suggested order of key removal and reassembly. I'm guessing there are different methods depending upon the make and model of clarinet. Would anyone like to suggest an appropriate order for the Yamaha?
Also any tips on how to test my work, (I'll just be cleaning and oiling to begin with) after reassembly?

Thanks everyone.

DP
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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DP. It seems like you're setting yourself up as a tech because you have to. At times i feel like i'm being pointed towards similar (out of necessity, although it sounds like you have the patience and methodical approach which i may lack). Questions: 1. How much financial outlay to feel you had the materials you need? 2. Is it worth it? (money/gratitude/more pupils/enjoyment?) I know this isn't answering your starter but if you've the time to reply i'd be interested.
 

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Where do you want to start? Top joint, bottom...Not much difference. Everyone will give you a different suggestion. What I do is take off the keys that overlap. Top joint G#, A, Rt, hand trill keys.....Save C#/G# for last. Put everything back in the same reverse order. Lower joint, G#/Eb and F/C first. Save B nat/F# alternate between the rings for last. Again put back in reverse. This method works well on all Boehm clarinets.

I usually use a drop of key oil when re-assembeling. If you don't have a spring hook, get or make one. A very small crochet hook will work in a pinch. Keys go off and on much easier if you can release the springs before, and then put them back after. Also if you dont want to forget where the rods go, screw them back in place. If you wash the carcases with them in, it'll remove a lot of the gunk that builds up in the tubes. Soft pipe cleaners work really well for cleaning out those. Be very careful of those needle springs! You're bound to jab yourself a few times or worse, accidentally snap one off. I've snapped one WHILE it was jabbing me. Bad words and Band-Aids followed.

Are you planning on installing the pads before the keys go on or after, and what type of adhesive are you going to use? I have found that hot glue works very well for clarinets. If the pad doesn't line up right the first time, a little heat to soften things up to readjust does the trick. The only problem I've found with hot glue is that it takes a few tries to determine what is too much glue and what is enough. I actually glued the pad to the tone hole while doing my first repad.

You've got the manuals so you know what comes AFTER the pads go on.
I think you're going to enjoy your new 'hobby'.
 

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I, like bandmommy, start wth the top joint and strip the instrument down as follows;

Register key, thumb key, Ab, throat A, trill keys, 1st ring, etc much the same as bandmommy.

I used to put the rods and pivot/barrel screws back into the posts but nowadays - now that I'm familiar with the keys, the rods and screws go into a board with holes drilled into it - I think theres a picture of one in the Brand book.

I prefer to was the plastic bodies with the rods out and I dry the threads in the posts using a Q tip/cotton bud.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys/gals.

Rootytoot,

I'm doing the tech thing out of necessity. The good techs here are way too expensive for my private students. With the school instruments, the standard of work was so poor that instruments were being returned in worse condition than when they went in. This from a very prominent Sydney music store too! Until the school can find a new repairer, Bootman and myself have volunteered to take up the slack with the saxes and clarinets.

As far as financial outlay goes, I've forked out about $100 AUD for the musicmedic clarinet kit and some extra sheet cork. Money well spent. It doesn't cover everything, but it's a great start and the guys are really helpful. Do it!
I already had Ronald Saska's book from years ago and Bootman loaned me the Eric Brand book. My advice, with any type of tools, is to buy them only as you need them. I have some experience in making my own tools from my whipmaking/leatherworking days.

Is it worth it? Depends upon how you look at it. I enjoy doing fine, fiddly, handcrafting type stuff. I don't think it's rocket science. Perhaps, like whipmaking, getting the know how is the easy bit. Getting the experience and being willing to make a zillion stuff-ups along the way, is what sorts the men from the boys.
I find the process of doing the job relaxing or meditative, so I'm happy to spend a whole day recorking tenons or whatever.
I don't expect any financial reward. The whole point of my doing this is to save parents money. I might get a thank you, but knowing my kids, they'll continue to use the clarinets as lightsabres. :D
I think more than anything, I needed to get back to working with my hands, so I'm probably not a good judge as to whether the whole exercise is worthwhile or not. Remember, I used to spend 12 hours a day plaiting leather, which qualifys me as certifiably insane. :)
If you can, do it. You can always give the game away if you find it's not for you.
 

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Dog Pants, any order that will work is ok. Some keys you just can't remove before removing others. Maybe write down the order you removed them so you know the order to put them back on.

One more thing, some keys are better (or necessary) to put back on with the spring already in its cradle.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Clarinbass. I might try replacing a pad or two and see how I go. The main thing is going to be replacing key corks (you'd be amazed at how many of the kid's instruments are missing key corks), cleaning (absolutely filthy. One of my kids has a D.I.Y baffle in the mouthpiece, which appears to be a build up of snickers and potato chips) and fixing damaged bridge mechanisms (howmany times have I gotta tell you not to just jam the two joints together????) :D

Fixing the bridge mechanisms might be tricky for a beginner like me, but if I don't do it, noone else will.

Can I just add that I'm blown away by just how helpful and open with btheir knowledge, all our techs on the forum are. My own tech won't tell you jack squat. It's much appreciated guys/gals.
 

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Here's the way I go about it:

Get a wood block with appropriately sized holes drilled into it, to place your rods in. There should be at least 10 holes on the first row (for the upper joint), and at least 4 holes for the bottom row (lower joint). As you remove keys, place the rods in the holes (left to right).

Upper Joint Removal: Register Key (rod 1), Ab Key (rod 2), A key (rod 3), top F ring and Bb bridge (rod 4), thumb ring (rod 5), High C trill and High Bb trill (rod 6), High F# trill (rod 7), side Bb (rod 8), C#/G# key (rod 9) and the Bb fork (rod 10).

Upper Joint Assembly: Bb fork, C#/G#, Top ring F and Bb bridge, A key, Ab key, side Bb, F# trill, High Bb and high C trill, Thumb ring, Register key.

Lower Joint Removal: Three ring F key, F# trill (Rod 1), C crow-foot and D# key (rod 4), Bb key, C# key, B lever (rod 2), C# lever (rod 3), C lever.

Lower Joint Assembly: F# trill (rod 1), Three ring F, B lever (rod 2), C# lever (rod 3), C lever, C# key, Bb key, C crow-foot and D# key (rod 4).

Hope that helped some.

Saxaholic
 

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Also, a list of very basic materials for this light work you're looking at doing

1. Appropriate sized corks...order the lot from Krauss. 0.4 m, 0.6, 0.8, 1.0, 1.2, 1.5, 1.8, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0. These will be perfect for almost any key cork you could ever need. Also make sure you get some cross-grain A and B corks...perfect for those sliding mechanisms, doesn't slow them down.

2. Krauss pads, both regular and thin. If you're looking at doing pad replacement in the future, you'll be glad you ordered these. Easy to seat and not many problems.

3. Spring hook, as suggested earlier.

4. Pad slick, usually more than 1. Ferrees makes a good one.

5. Fresh, sharp razors for trimming corks and removing old corks. Use a new razor for each individual cork (sometimes more than one razor per cork, depending on how much trimming you're doing).

6. Butane torch, hand held.

7. Q-tips for cleaning out key cups.

8. Key bending pliers, thin or thick, depending. See what you have around...make sure they DON'T HAVE TEETH.

9. Appropriate emery. I forget the red stuff...I use that most often.

10. Pad glue sticks.

11. Cigarette papers.

12 Feelers. These are easy to make. Start with a needle spring (thick, I use 62). Then get cigarette paper...cut a small piece (a quarter inch to half inch). Get some glue (pad glue is fine) on the non sharp end of the needle spring (use butane torch to heat non sharp end, then rub in pad glue stick a little)...finally get the paper on the glue and you have your feeler.

Maybe I should go drink some more coffee...

Saxaholic
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Saxaholic, that's great!

I see you mentioned a wood block for the rods. I've read elsewhere in the repair manuals, of using a board with holes drilled for rods and compartments for screws, keys, etc.
What do most techs actually use? When I go to see my tech, an older guy who does excellent work but is outrageously expensive, there's stuff scattered everywhere like a mad woman's breakfast. The whole shop looks like a "pack o' poo ticket," as the saying goes.
Anyone care to post pics of their workbench or woodblock?
 

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Apart from the obvious (when keys are over the top of others) and the following, order is not relevant:

1. Remove and replace the top 3 side keys all at the same time.

2. You don't normally need to remove the lower pivot point screws for the lower section of the clarinet.

3. As Clarnibass referred to, to avoid de-tensioning springs... When replacing normally-closed keys (and also F/C key and lever) that are activated by needle springs. Especially important for G#/D# key:

- Before inserting the pivot screw/rod, displace the key across the instrument a mm or 2, in a direction towards the tip of the spring. (For F#/C# key and F/C lever, you can already have the lower end of the key already on its respective point screw)
- Then hook the spring into the cradle.
- Move the key carefully back to position between the posts, making sure you do not stretch that spring any further than necessary.
- Then fit the pivot rod or screw.

4. Remove and replace the E/B and F#/C# levers both at the same time.
 

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Most repair benches that I've seen (and mine own, included) are usually not very "organized" whilst doing a repair. I use a piece of wood, drilled with holes appropriate for the rods. You could also fit your feelers in there if you wanted to drill extra holes on the side.

Let me add that I was in no way trying to tell you exactly how to do it....that's just the way I was taught, it works well, and helps keeps things organized in my mind. Obviously it doesn't have to be done exactly that way, but I usually find the more organized I can be, the smoother things get done. You get in a pattern and it helps, for me.

DogPants, PM me and I'll get you some photo's of the shop and my 'bench' so you can get a better visual of what I'm talking about.

Saxaholic
 

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After you've gotten a few clarinets under your belt,,,, your work area may also look like a mad womans breakfast. I can say that mine does,,,,Organized chaos.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
bandmommy said:
After you've gotten a few clarinets under your belt,,,, your work area may also look like a mad womans breakfast. I can say that mine does,,,,Organized chaos.
Sooner than that. :D I've replaced all the tenon corks and sanded them down, (I erred on the side of a very firm fit?) I used lanolin to grease them up and the dry cork just seems to drink the the lanolin up. I oiled all the mechanism on each clarinet with the needle oiler.
The next job is to clean the clarinets of all the greasy fingermarks etc. A soft rag and some Q-tips might be the go there? I really think I should disassemble the clarinet and clean each part separately, to do the job properly, so a system for keeping all the keys, screws, rods, etc organised will be a help.
I should add that I'm living in a 2 bedroom appartment and am working on the loungeroom coffee table. Not ideal, but do-able with a little imagination and furniture rearranging. I'm making more mess than my son, which takes some doing. :D
 

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Make a board with a clarinet diagram for the screws, then you will never mix them up. Clarinets are fun to do, you need a surgical blade or something like that to sculpt the corks, replacing corks is the most crucial to getting the setup right.
 

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My system is to have a certain location on the work area for each pivot rod and screw. So it's quicker than working with some sort of stand, but not suitable if the work area is used for other things as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
dzve said:
Make a board with a clarinet diagram for the screws, then you will never mix them up. Clarinets are fun to do, you need a surgical blade or something like that to sculpt the corks, replacing corks is the most crucial to getting the setup right.
Thanks for the tip. After years of purchasing, forging, being handed all sorts of knives for leatherwork, the knife I use most, is one of those cheap craft knives



The trick to getting and keeping them sharp, is to strop them with something reasonably coarse (they're usually stainless steel, so jewellers rouge isn't gonna do the trick).
Glue a strip of leather about 2" wide and 8" long, smooth side up, to a board or the edge of your workbench. Smooth some fine valve grinding paste onto the leather and rub it in. Then strop the blade on the leather. I've been using the same blade in the same $2 knife, cutting everything from thin roo to thick rawhide, for over 5 years and it has gotten sharper with use. Defies all my spending on expensive blades, and my reverence for Sheffield steel, but it works.
 

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I do the same with oboe's and bassoons.I am going to get a board from ferree's one day. I do love doing the oboe and bassoons because there is a great sense of accomplishment when its done!!
 

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Dog Pants

My work table is pretty messy too. Basically some tools are in glasses and some are in a big pile on the table. I have a small wood block with holes for all the rod screws but depending on the situation sometimes I don't use it. I can email you a picture PM me if you want.

Re some of Saxaholic suggestions - you probably can't buy pads from Kraus because you have to be registered as repairer or work in a store as repairer to buy from them (plus for international orders you have to pay with bank transfer now afaik, no credit card). I think sometimes people in some countries forget that somethings are not similar for people in different countries. I don't know if you have pad/cork sources in Australia but you can order from the UK www.windcraft.co.uk and www.windplus.co.uk
 
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